The government has begun consultations at the highest level to decide on the use of 5G technology, which is seen as a precursor to a possible ban on the use of equipment from Chinese companies, such as those sold by Huawei, when India rolls out the high-speed network.
The top ministers of India discussed the issue at a meeting on Monday. The talks came along with the discussion to block 59 Chinese apps, which are facing allegations of snooping on millions of unsuspecting users and illegally transmitting the data to China.
While the details of the discussions were not immediately available, sources told TOI that the participation of Huawei and some of its Chinese rivals are at the heart of the deliberations. The auction of the 5G spectrum has been postponed by at least a year in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, which was first discovered in Wuhan, as well as the weak financial position of some of the prospective bidders such as Vodafone Idea which are battling for survival.
Huawei has already been banned by the Donald Trump administration, at least until next year, with American authorities also trying to convince other trade partners such as the UK and India to follow in its footsteps. The company has always been under a cloud with its founder linked to the PLA.
With tension rising at the border, the department of telecommunications has asked state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd to disallow Chinese participation in its 4G tender, while signaling to private players that equipment manufactured by companies from across the border was not welcome in India. In fact, the statement by Cellular Operators Association of India, which opposed curbs on Chinese telecom gear, has not gone down well with the telecom department.